So... Secondborn will be one year old tomorrow. Today, he spoke his first words: "More pizza."
No, I cannot prove it. I would swear on a stack of Bibles, but anybody who knows me wouldn't be impressed by that. Here's the scene: we're sitting at the kitchen table. Secondborn has just asked to be let down - not using the hand sign, but simply by standing up against the restraint of his seatbelt until he wiggled/forced his way free. Yes, the word 'juggernaut' is appropriate here. So I put him on the floor, and he went around to his mother. The Beautiful Woman pulled him up into her lap, whereupon he did use a handsign: the finger-into-opposite-palm sign for "more". I said, "Would you like more pizza?" and moved the pizza crust he'd been eating from his high chair to a spot on the table in front of him.
He replied, "Mo pizza," or something so similar as to be indistinguishable. So I don't care whether or not I have video evidence, or whether that happened to be random phonetic similarity, I'm counting that as his first words: "More pizza."
My wife is a witness.
Anyway, that wasn't his big achievement for the day. Oh, no. I've mentioned before that he has an incredible knack for positioning himself in the worst possible place at precisely the wrong time - it's a good thing I don't practice juggling, really - but I'm pretty sure this is the culmination of that tendency. You see...
Well, let me back up a little bit. My wife's parents live about half a city block from us. That's an easy bike ride, a slow walk, or about five good bowshots. On the days when my wife teaches - which, owing to the recent birth of the boys and the mercy of the college, is only two days a week - my mother-in-law takes care of both boys. This is... honestly, I don't think I can overemphasize how important this is. If we had to keep the kids in daycare, even two days a week, I'm pretty sure it would be more cost-effective for my wife to give up her job. I'm also quite sure that she'd go completely insane under those circumstances. So my mother-in-law essentially enables our lifestyle.
Now, Firstborn can be fairly demanding. He's sweet, he's polite, he's friendly, but when he has something to say he expects people to listen. If you're trying to watch two boys at once, that can be a bit... distracting. Secondborn is determined, clever, determined, indomitable, and determined. Did I mention determined? And his particular obsession for this morning was the power switch on my father-in-law's home computer. Apparently, he poked it on and off quite a number of times. And after a while, that provoked precisely the sort of catastrophe that people warn you about when they suggest that you should use the Windows menu to shut down, instead of just holding down the button.
When I got to the computer, it wouldn't boot. It gave a familiar error, suggesting that Windows had failed to boot properly and suggesting some options. None of the variations of Safe Mode worked. The Last Known Good configuration... wasn't. Starting Windows normally was, unsurprisingly, a lost cause.
So, well, okay. It's an XP system, and the in-laws have an XP install disk that they bought for an earlier computer. So I used that to boot up, and tried the "repair" option.
It dropped me into a DOS prompt. That's... not a good sign.
But okay, I went to the C: drive, where all the system files live, and called for a directory.
...I got an error.
The hardware seems to be fine, but the file system is well and thoroughly screwed. My boy, he doesn't do things by halves. So now, at my brother's suggestion, I'm running Checkdisk to look over the hard drive and repair anything it finds out of place. Nearly two hours later, it thinks it's 60% complete. So I'm going to leave it running, and see how it looks in the morning. We have some other software at work that might also help deal with this, but it's going to take time.
The worst case scenario is that we end up having to completely wipe and rebuild the hard drive. That would be inconvenient, but - since we have the XP install disk - it could be done. The big deal there is that my father-in-law would have to reinstall the VPN that allows him to work from home... and he was originally planning to work from home on Friday. So, again, my son's timing is oriented towards chaos.
If I ever manage to update the Book of Parenting, both these items will feature prominently. Being a parent is not for the faint of heart. Or the squeamish. Or anyone who's too attached to their possessions.